GM'S ELECTRIC VEHICLE GETS COMPLICATED LAUNCH RINEY DOING CALIF. ADS FOR THE EV1

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And you thought buying an ordinary car was complicated.

General Motors Corp., disclosing its plans for marketing the EV1 electric vehicle, said residents of the South Coast Air Quality Management District around Los Angeles will be able to lease the car for 36 months for zero down and $480 a month. But residents of the three other cities where EV1 will be marketed-San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.-will pay $640 a month.

That doesn't count a $50 monthly lease payment for a wall-mounted vehicle charger. Or the $1,000-plus needed to make a house's wiring EV-ready.

NEW ERA FOR EV'S

Thus begins the new era of mass-market electric vehicles. Delivery of the first EV1s will be Dec. 5, although consumers will be able to visit Saturn dealerships beginning in mid-November for test drives and consultations.

Despite the intricacies of the leasing process, at least 250 consumers are "drop-dead serious" to be the first on their block to own GM's electric vehicle, said Joseph Kennedy, Saturn Corp. VP-sales, service and marketing.

Since Saturn dealers will only lease the EV1, there is no retail sticker price. The 26 Saturn dealers also will offer a one-payment lease of $15,783 in the South Coast Air Quality Management District and $21,328 elsewhere.

OTHER MARKETS TARGETED

GM is trying to persuade utilities and air-quality districts in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson to match the South Coast Air Quality Management District offer.

Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, handles.

The Saturn stores will have signage indicating EV1s are sold at those stores, as well as dedicated showroom floor space.

Customers interested in the EV1 can visit a Saturn store and get basic information. However, a detailed follow-up meeting will be led by a Saturn EV1 marketing specialist from a central sales pool.

Mr. Kennedy added Saturn will refuse to sell an EV1 if the customer indicates he would ship it to an area outside the four cities where the car is marketed.M

Mr. Rechtin is a reporter for Automotive News.

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